If you know our father, Russell Packett, you know he has always been an active guy – a jock, even. He has made physical activity and recreation his life’s work. And at home, he’s always fixing something or working on a new project. Unfortunately, last month, we found out his life is going to change significantly. Last month, Dad was diagnosed with cancer.
The first thing we should say is that it’s treatable – and he’s fighting it with every competitive bone in his body. But the cancer quickly metastasized to his spine, causing irreversible damage that has left him paralyzed from the chest down. We have explored options and are optimistic about treating the illness, but it has become clear to us that our father will be living the remainder of his life in a wheelchair.
We’re shocked and saddened – as is Dad, of course -- but we’re also determined to ensure he will be able to get back to a normal life. The years ahead will be full of challenges but we can assure you that we’re ready to fight.
Over the next few weeks, Dad will receive a variety of treatments to rid his body of the cancer. We know that may well be the easy part. When he returns home, the real challenge will begin.
Our home in Harpswell is going to require significant renovations in order to make it fully accessible. We anticipate a series of expensive projects will pile on top of expensive medical bills. We also plan to purchase an accessible vehicle because, as you can imagine, there is no way my dad is going to let this keep him from working.
As you probably know, Dad is not one to ask for help. Ever. But we are reaching out today because our family is going to have to adjust to a new normal. That new normal includes us asking for help and placing faith in this incredible community.
This is the second time cancer has shown up on our doorstep and shattered our version of normalcy. We rose from it last time, stronger and more determined. We’ll do the same this time, with your help.
If you can spare anything to assist my father on this journey, we would be so grateful. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your help, your love, and your support.
Sam & Andy Reifman-Packett